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Rettinger, A.; Broeckl, S.; Fink, M.; Prodinger, W. M.; Blum, H.; Krebs, S.; Domogalla, J.; Just, F.; Gellert, S.; Straubinger, R. K.; Büttner, M. (2017): The Region of Difference Four is a Robust Genetic Marker for Subtyping Mycobacteriumcaprae Isolates and is Linked to Spatial Distribution of Three Subtypes. In: Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, Vol. 64, No. 3: pp. 782-792
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Alpine Mycobacteriumcaprae isolates found in cattle and red deer display at least three genetic variations in the region of difference four (RD4) that can be used for further differentiation of the isolates into the subtypes Allgau', Karwendel' and Lechtal'. Each genomic subtype is thereby characterized by a specific nucleotide deletion pattern in the 12.7-kb RD4 region. Even though M.caprae infections are frequently documented in cattle and red deer, little is known about the transmission routes. Hence, robust markers for M.caprae subtyping are needed to gain insight into the molecular epidemiology. For this reason, a rapid and robust multiplex PCR was developed for the simultaneous detection of three M.caprae RD4 subtypes and was used to subtype a total number of 241 M.caprae isolates from animals (145 cattle, 95 red deer and one fox) from Bavaria and Austria. All three subtypes occur spatially distributed and are found in cattle and in red deer suggesting transmission between the two species. As subtypes are genetically stable in both species it is hypothesized that the described genetic variations developed within the host due to within-host replication'. The results of this study recommend the genomic RD4 region as a reliable diagnostic marker for M.caprae subtype differentiation.